Robert W. Allison

Robert W. Allison

Professor Emeritus of Religion and Classical and Medieval Studies


Religious Studies

Classical and Medieval Studies


Robert W. Allison earned his B.A. from Brown University in Religious Studies and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in New testament and Early Christian Studies, where he was a student of Robert M. Grant (early Christian studies)), Benedict Einarson (Classics), and Walter Kaegi (Byzantine History). At Chicago he served as an assistant curator of manuscripts and archives and lecturer in Greek paleography. Supported by a series of National Endowment for the Humanities grants, as a research fellow of the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic studies in Thessaloniki, Greece, he undertook a long-term project describing the manuscripts and studying the history of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece. After living in Greece 1977-1980, Prof. Allison came to Bates to teach in Religion and Classical & Medieval Studies. A founding member of the Byzantine Studies Association of North America, he is widely known for his ongoing work in Greek paleography and his publications related to Mount Athos, Philotheou Monastery, and Byzantine monastic history. His manuscript studies led to a decade of work on the study of paper as evidence for the productions of manuscripts.

Working with James Hart of Bates College, he founded The Watermark Archive Initiative. The Allison-Hart plan for a world-wide distributed database system for the description of paper was adopted and implemented by the European Bernstein Consortium. Prof. Allison is also widely known for his role in organizing and leading the branch of the Friends of Mount Athos in the Americas.